The U.S. military operates and maintains a vast forward basing infrastructure in countries throughout the world. Periodically, these bases become the central focus of either protest or violence from the citizens of the host nation. Questions have recently surfaced as to whether NAVCENT headquarters in Bahrain is in danger of experiencing protest or violence following the Arab Spring. This thesis seeks to understand the causes of protest and violence toward U.S. personnel stationed overseas. To answer this question, this thesis uses case studies from base conflicts in Okinawa, Germany, and Turkey to analyze the friction points between the host nation citizens and the U.S. military base. This thesis finds that the main friction points for conflict fall into three categories: economic, military, and social. The most common friction point in the three case studies is the impact of U.S. military operations on the host nation, with the exception of Bahrain. Bahrain is unique because military operations have not caused resentment to date within the current government or the opposition movement. Despite this lack of conflict, NAVCENT’s position in Bahrain is by no means secure, since economic causes, present in the Bahrain case, have caused the most vociferous protests when present.
Russell, James A.
Security Studies (Middle East, South Asia, Sub-saharan Africa)
Naval Postgraduate School
Master of Arts in Security Studies (Middle East, South Asia, Sub-saharan Africa)
National Security Affairs
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
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